self-ef·​face·​ment ˌself-i-ˈfās-mənt How to pronounce self-effacement (audio)
plural self-effacements
: the placing or keeping of oneself in an inconspicuous role or position especially due to modesty or shyness
In his one-man show, satirist Robert Dubac takes aim at a culture that values the Kardashians more than character and ranks selfies over self-effacement.Judith Newmark
The polite self-effacement of his Midwestern upbringing came through …Jon Pareles

Examples of self-effacement in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There’s a hint of self-effacement in Campillo’s demotion of his own coming-of-age tale, an acknowledgement of the smallness of his memories relative to the island’s own seismic story of the time, even if the film never quite gives itself over to more radical ideas. Guy Lodge, Variety, 9 Mar. 2024 But in Britain, expressions of self-confidence are often interpreted as arrogance, while self-effacement comes off as endearing and down-to-earth. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, 15 Feb. 2024 Her clasped hands cross her head, covering her face in a gesture of self-protection and self-effacement. Farah Peterson, The Atlantic, 14 Dec. 2023 Unfortunately, the obvious lesson Providence wishes to teach us with Trump is that in our age, heroism begins in self-effacement and humility. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, 13 Dec. 2023 However, Swift’s truly oddball smash may stand a nearly equal chance of prevailing, rewarding the song’s grandiose self-effacement. Chris Willman, Variety, 12 Oct. 2023 Glenn, the techie, is all stammers and self-effacement—until Troy, in the course of his own maturation, spots something deeper. Dan Stahl, The New Yorker, 14 Sep. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'self-effacement.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1853, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of self-effacement was in 1853

Dictionary Entries Near self-effacement

Cite this Entry

“Self-effacement.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jun. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on self-effacement

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!